Our Own Performance-Enhancing Decisions

coffee14.jpgIt was finally released on Thursday.  The 409-page report was the result of a twenty-month investigation by Senator George Mitchell on the use of steroids among major league players.  The report named both past and present Major League Baseball players.  In all, seven MVPs were named and 31 All-Stars.  Named some 82 times in the report was MVP pitcher Roger Clemens.  All of these players are accused of using performance-enhancing drugs.

This world of Major League Baseball is a world of big money, celebrity, and pressure.  This world may seem so foreign to most of us.  In fact, the whole thing may seem irrelevant.  You may not be a baseball fan.  You may not even enjoy sports.  Yet, maybe there is something relevant.

After all, you and I regularly make decisions.  You and I are faced with choices that involve (and reveal) our ethics.  We may be tempted to participate in "performance-enhancing" behaviors that, in our more honest moments, we might admit to be wrong.  Yet, we have decided that it is OK or even necessary because of what is at stake.

  • "I must lie.  Everyone does it.  If I don’t lie, I could lose this account."
  • "No, I didn’t tell them what was wrong with this car before I sold it to them.  They did a test drive.  It’s up to them to figure it out.  I don’t want to lose any money."
  • "I had to cheat on the test this morning.  I didn’t know some of the answers and a lot is at stake."
  • "Maybe my resume isn’t exactly accurate.  Maybe I did shade the truth on a few things.  But there are a lot of people wanting this job and I need any advantage I can get."
  • "Plagiarism?  No.  No, you don’t understand.  Everybody has to use someone else’s material now and then.  It’s just accepted."
  • "I know you are over twelve.  But tickets are so much cheaper for children under twelve so I thought I would just tell the ticket lady that you were under twelve.  It’s no big deal."
  • "Yea, I was up late last night.  My child had a paper due that I had to write.  No, she had not even started.  If I had not written it for her, she would have gotten a bad grade." 
  • "Hey, I know it’s not right, but there are some things you just have to do."

All I am suggesting is that we have a way of rationalizing and justifying our behavior if in some way it enhances our performance.  We are tempted to do whatever it takes to give us the advantage.

Meanwhile, we are invited to do what may seem irrational at times.  We are invited to trust God with our lives.  We are urged to turn the management of our lives and our future over to him.  So often, we just don’t trust God.  We do not trust that he will take care of us if we do the right thing.  We do not trust him with our future.  So, we take over and "do what it takes" in our attempt to manage our own lives, regardless of the dishonesty that may be involved.

Do you feel this tension in your own life?  Do you feel the tension between wanting whatever might give you an advantage (though it might involve dishonesty) and yet knowing that you have been called to trust God?

I have found it to be fairly easy to say, "I want to trust God."  I have found it more difficult to trust God with a particular decision or issue when a lot might be at stake.  Yet, I know that God wants me to learn to trust him.

Have you felt this same tension in your own life at times?  

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “Our Own Performance-Enhancing Decisions

  1. Hey Jim, get your facts straight! I was not up late writing a paper for my daughter the other night… I don’t have a daughter… it was for my son 🙂
    Yes, it does hit dead center for me, and we all struggle with this in little ways that we don’t even think about. I listened to a sermon by John Piper about a year ago where he said that when we justify our behavior in so many ways, it is un-belief, because we fail to embrace and trust the promises of God. We should all pray the words of the man in Mark 9: 24 – "I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!"
    Michael – Rowlett, TX